Take a dip into On Golden Pond at St Albans theatre

Company of Ten presents On Golden Pond at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. [Picture: Nick Clarke]

Company of Ten presents On Golden Pond at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans. [Picture: Nick Clarke] - Credit: Nick Clarke

Best known for the film adaptation starring Henry and Jane Fonda, On Golden Pond opens in St Albans next week.

The Company of Ten will be taking Abbey Theatre audience members away for an early summer break to a New England lakeside holiday home in their next production.

On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson opens on Friday, May 11 and runs until Saturday, May 19.

The play is a lovingly scripted, bittersweet and moving tale of one dysfunctional family’s attempts to overcome the seriously strained relationships within it.

The nub of the problem is crotchety, cantankerous retiree Norman who, with his wife Ethel, arrives to spend a quiet summer at their lodge beside Golden Pond just as they have done for the last 50 years.

But instead of fishing, he spends his time morbidly obsessing about his own mortality.

The psychological and emotional temperature soars when their estranged daughter Chelsea visits with her new fiancé and his teenage son Billy in tow.

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Amongst the baggage she brings is her overwhelming resentment at her father’s apparent inability to parent her in the ways she thinks he should.

Only Ethel seems to appreciate that her husband’s gruff exterior conceals a shyness he is desperate to keep hidden.

When she offers to look after Billy, the elderly couple find their idyll both challenged and enriched.

The play was made into the hugely successful, Oscar-winning 1981 film of the same name, starring Katharine Hepburn and real-life father and daughter Henry and Jane Fonda.

According to Jane, the fictional relationship in the film uncannily mirrored her own with Henry and working on the movie together enabled them to break down several life-long barriers in their own relationship.

Director Abbe Waghorn said: “The questions posed by the play for me really are: can these strained relationships so common in families ever be repaired, and will Norman be able to come to terms with his own mortality and decline, as indeed we all have to sooner or later.”

Performances take place on the main stage from Friday, May 11 to Saturday, May 12 at 8pm, and on Sunday, May 13 at 2.30pm.

There are then performances from Tuesday, May 15 to Saturday, May 19 at 8pm.

• To book tickets go to www.abbeytheatre.org.uk or call the box office on 01727 857861.